Heck Introduces Bill to Expand Development of Renewable Energy on Public Lands
Bill would make Nevada national leader in renewable energy, boost economy, create jobs
Jun 22, 2012 (Menafn - Congressional Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) --WASHINGTON - As the House of Representatives continues to work towards developing an all-of-the-above energy policy, Representatives Joe Heck (R-NV-03) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM-01) today introduced legislation, H.R. 5991, the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, which places renewable energy on a sustainable path towards competitive leasing on public lands. The legislation was developed to provide a clear and straightforward process for permitting and developing renewable energy on public lands, while at the same time providing for state and local units of government to obtain a share of the revenue from the sales of energy production. Western states such as Nevada contain millions of acres of public lands that could be used to develop renewable energy sources, new technologies, and create jobs. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) have introduced companion legislation in the United States Senate.
"More than 80% of the state of Nevada is owned by the federal government and that land should be used in a way that can provide energy security, reduce energy costs, develop new technologies, and create jobs," Rep. Heck said. "By streamlining the development of renewable energy on these lands, Nevada will have the chance to lead the nation in the development of viable renewable energy sources and our state will gain revenues from royalties to reinvest in the community."
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 set a goal of developing 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2015 and the Department of the Interior is pushing to permit 9/10ths of that before the end of this year. With some of the best renewable energy development sites located on public land, it is critically important to meet these twin goals of expanding renewable energy which will put us on a path to energy security and create jobs. The Heck-Heinrich bill puts a process in place for the Department of the Interior to meet these goals.
Currently, renewable energy development projects compete against conventional energy sources for lease permits, a process known as right-of-way permitting. The current right-of-way permitting system does not provide a long-term solution, but is rather an attempt to make renewable energy fit within existing statues. The bill introduced by Reps. Heck and Heinrich would help streamline the process for the development of renewable energy.
Revenues gained from renewable energy lease sales shall be divided to:
25% to the county(ies) in which a project is located;
25% to the State in which a project is located;
15% for a renewable energy permit processing fund for Interior (after 15 years, this revenue stream will be deposited into the conservation fund); and
35% to a fund for wildlife and land conservation and protection.
Such payments to the localities and states will provide funding for local investments, and support conservation activities.
More than 80% of the land in the state of Nevada is owned by the federal government, while over 40% of land in New Mexico is federally held.
Read this original document at: http://heck.house.gov/press-release/heck-introduces-bill-expand-development-renewable-energy-public-lands
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